17.1 C
Byron Shire
August 9, 2022

Campaign to reopen Murwillumbah birthing unit

Latest News

Tucked away in a Mullumbimby music studio, a group of local musicians have been pouring their hearts out through song.

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 3 August, 2022

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Top tips for feline friends this International Cat Day

Some silly humans think that it's money that makes the world go around – we all know it's cats!

Ballina development application worries locals

A DA has just gone on public exhibition for a 15 unit, two storey complex in the midst of a large suburban block between Norton and Camden Streets, Ballina, not far from North Creek. Surrounding residents have a number of concerns.

Mullum residents bulldozed over pod homes

Mullumbimby residents are growing increasingly angry and are still waiting for answers over the construction of temporary pod accommodation works on Prince Street, next to the disused railway on flood-prone land. 

Vision not so splendid for Lennox businesses

Ballina Shire Council workers have been taking advantage of sunny weather this week to advance the Lennox Village Vision. Unfortunately for local businesses, roadworks and noise have also disrupted them and their customers.

Plan for floods

Some stories have been told and the full story of the 2022 floods is still unfolding. Society is realising...

North coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker. Photo supplied
‘Hardship’: North coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker. Photo supplied

A community campaign has been launched to reopen the birthing unit at Murwillumbah hospital, which closed on Friday after a support doctor could not be found for the service.

An online petition has been set up and a rally organised outside the hospital this coming Wednesday.

Greens north coast spokesperson Dawn Walker has joined the chorus of community members and politicians calling on the state government to step in and stop the Northern NSW Local Health district from closing the service.

Ms Walker has challenged local National Party MP’s Thomas George and Geoff Provest to reverse the decision.

Closure of the unit would mean hardship for local women, Ms Walker said with the unit providing ‘a first rate maternity service for the region.’

‘Many mothers have contacted me distressed about the closure. One mother had all three of her children at the Murwillumbah Maternity and Birthing Unit and only just made it to the hospital in time for the birth of her babies. She said she would never have made the 30-kilometre drive to Tweed Hospital in time.

‘Small rural maternity units are vital services for local regional women and should be supported not closed. It is just plain wrong to cut costs by closing this service and putting mothers and babies at risk.

‘The closure is being blamed on the retirement of local birthing specialists at the end of May, with claims of difficulty attracting replacement medical professionals to the town. However, the Northern NSW Local Health District has now initiated a review of the entire Maternity and Birthing Unit, which is an ominous sign for the long-term viability of the service.

‘I’m disappointed that less than two months after the state election the Nationals are slashing services to our mums and babies – could you get a more vulnerable target for their cost cutting measures. Regional communities like Murwillumbah and surrounding areas, deserve better.’

Lismore MP Thomas George told local media he was ‘disappointed’ at the closure of the service but said the decision had been taken ‘for the safety of mothers’.

He told APN Media he hoped ‘a suitable specialist is appointed at Murwillumbah Hospital soon.’

Rally Wednesday

Meanwhile a community campaign to prevent the closure of unit has been launched, including a rally outside the hospital on Wednesday (May 3) at 10am.

Ms Walker said she will be attending the rally on Wednesday ‘to support these mothers and their babies and asking for this vital service to be reopened.’

Concerned members of the public can also sign an online petition at:


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Thomas George’s 2008 observations made from opposition need to be revisited. 2008 Thomas George said on hospital closures…. “Services are cut back so people go to other areas. Statistics are then used to wind back the hospital,” Mr George said…

    It is his disgraceful government today that is orchestrating this very same manipulated closure of the birthing unit. Resign Mr George !

    source: http://www.thomasgeorge.com.au/display_content.php?id=1746


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Pedal power celebrated at Murwillumbah film night

Those with an interest in films and cycling will be in heaven this Thursday night (August 11) when the Regent Cinema in Murwillumbah hosts the Big Bike Film Night.

Beekeepers can get a permit to move hives away from flood water

With so many challenges currently surrounding the bee industry, it comes as a relief to many that NSW Department of Primary Industries will issue a special group permit for beekeepers in flood warning areas to move their hives to higher ground.


Who’s with me in launching a class action against Byron and Lismore councils for compensation for us hapless ratepayers as we daily shred expensive...

The Healthy Minds Club are busy as!

The Lennox-based (and fast-expanding) young men's mental health group are continuing to change lives and inspire the wider community with activities across the region.